The company declined to say how many people use Facebook for the specific purpose of watching gaming livestreams but claims more than 700 million users who play a game on Facebook, interact in a Facebook gaming group or watch a gaming video each month.
Nonetheless, Facebook believes it has a big opportunity on its hands.
“It’s easy to assume that because it’s gaming and because Facebook is so big that perhaps this is a niche,” Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s gaming head of product, said in an interview last month. “But the 700 million people that engage every month — that’s a huge number even at Facebook’s scale. And we know that number is growing rapidly.”
Facebook is trying to use its global reach to get a leg up on Twitch, promoting Facebook Gaming in markets like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico. “We feel that gaming is a borderless activity,” Sharma said.
That global reach has attracted creators like Amanda Oto, who goes by “Eithieen” in her streams.
Oto is a gamer in Spain who began streaming on Twitch in 2013. For Oto, streaming is a full-time gig, but after streaming on Twitch for so long, she felt she was hitting the limit of her potential audience. Oto decided in September to switch to Facebook Gaming in hopes of reaching more viewers.
Since making the switch, Oto said, she’s reaching about 80 to 100 viewers per Facebook Gaming livestream, which is down from the 100 to 300 she averaged on Twitch.
However, she added, her follower count is now around 10,000, up from the 1,000 followers she had on Twitch.
“A platform change is always scary. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Oto said in Spanish. “But I didn’t get this wrong. I made the right choice.”